What makes mass mobilization possible? Korea's candle light movement case in 2002

Hyun, Jeong-Im orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-6773-9107 (2014) What makes mass mobilization possible? Korea's candle light movement case in 2002. Wiener Beiträge zur Koreaforschun, VI (1). pp. 136-149. ISSN 1998-989X

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South Korean society has experienced a thrilling history since the 1980s in terms of its pro-democracy movement. Thanks to the uprising of June 10, 1987, a twenty-fiveyear- long authoritarian regime finally gave way to democratization. Fifteen years
after this movement, an important mass mobilization took place during the 2002 presidential election. The way this mobilization broke out caught many analysts’ attention: an Internet user proposed a demonstration with candles to pay respect to two middle school girls who were accidentally killed by an American tank. Even though the visible factor of this mobilization appeared to be the Internet, attributing too much weight to the Internet would be inappropriate. This article focuses on the question: through which process could what the protesters did online lead to getting them into the streets, and thus raking offline action? Exchanging information, reading, and expressing opinions on the Internet are one thing; acting in the real world is another. They could have stayed in front of their computers, just clicking or writing comments anonymously, so why did they bother taking to the streets? To search foran answer, this article studies three objects: actors (social network, organization, over the Internet); frame alignment (creation of a collective identity and collective memory); and political opportunities.

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